Using nature for art

    A Cape Town based company, Forest Creations, has been creating rustic wooden furniture for locals for years. Started in 1991 by Grant Bramwell and joined by his brother Craig Bramwell, the two men have a unique touch of bringing out the best in natural wood.

Their creative use of the wood and their designs are all inspired by the natural curves, the colours and the shapes of trees and its wood and are only sourced from storm-damaged, felled or dead trees.

What would be seen by one person as an inherent flaw in the wood is seen by the brothers as an opportunity to sculpt, to create and to enhance that interesting aspect rather than hide / remove it. Each product is therefore unique, and using the trade skills of their family the items are made with the highest standard of craftsmanship.

Using various local and exotic timbers, including red gum, white gum, stone pine, oak, blackwood, yellowwood, stinkwood, camphor, wild olive and cypress, the brothers can make any item of furniture or art work ranging from coffee tables, benches, beds and cabinets to wine racks, cd racks, picture frames, lamps, bowls, basins and sculptural decor items.

For more information or further pictures visit Forest Creations Website.

Forest Creations - Wood art

Honing the units of measurement

We have come to think of the traditional units of measurement - seconds, kilograms etc - as set in stone and eternally true. However, scientists believe that some units of measurements are not accurate enough anymore for science.

Recently, after decades of worry, toil and argument, metrologists have officially begun the process of tying the definitions of four basic units to natures' fundamental constants.

The General Conference on Weights and Measures (CGPM) in Paris, France, has unanimously agreed on a proposal that would lead to reform of the mole, kilogram, kelvin and ampere, according to the international system of units (SI).

Nearly all measurements are based on the SI, with a chain of laws and rules leading back to just seven base units. The way that these units are defined does not matter so much for the general public, however, many scientific experiments require precise measurement, especially in areas like fundamental physics and this is where the reformation of these units will transform scientific accuracy.

The first sign that the SI was flawed was noticed in 1949 in a check on a lump of metal made in the 1880's from a mixture of platinum and iridium, kept inside a vault at the International Bureau of Weights and Measures (BIPM) in Paris. By definition, it is the only object in existence with a mass of exactly 1 kilogram - one of the seven SI base units - so metrologists were unsettled to discover that this mass had changed. Not liking to rush into anything, however, no one checked the standard kilogram again until 1989 and to their dismay, the lump of metal was still not 1kg.

A drifting kilogram means that the mole, the unit that chemists use for measuring the amount of a substance, requires attention. The kelvin is currently defined according to the property of water in a certain state - a fact that makes precise measurements at very high or low temperatures impossible. Meanwhile, the ampere's definition is so impractical that electrical researchers have had to turn to a definition outside the SI system based on quantum processes instead.

In 2006, after decades of little action, Mills and fellow metrologists Terry Quinn, Peter Mohr, Edwin Williams and Barry Taylor argued in the journal Metrologia that the four problematic units should be tied to fundamental constants of the universe instead. The seventh, the candela, could wait.

For the kilogram, they suggested using the Planck constant, which relates the energy of electromagnetic radiation to its frequency. The Planck constant can also be used to define the Avogadro constant, the number of atoms in 12 grams of carbon-12, which in turn can be used to obtain the mole.

A fixed value is also possible for another constant, the elementary charge carried by one proton or electron, which can be used to define the ampere. For the kelvin, you can use the Boltzmann constant, which relates thermal and mechanical energy.

The metre and the second are two base units that do not require redefinition as they are defined with reference to the speed of light - a link to a fundamental constant that makes them robust and without exquisite accuracy in measuring time and distance, for example, we couldn't use satellites for GPS.

Read more about the 1 kg redefined or view the present and proposed SI unit definitions.

Source: New Scientist.

units of measurement

Vegetarian for a month

In celebration of vegetarian awareness month which was kicked off by World Vegetarian Day on 1 October and finishes with World Vegan Day on 1 November, many people around the world are experiencing food the vegetarian way.

Contrary to popular belief, including vegetarianism into your eating habits this month can be as easy as including 1 meat-free day a week. Meat-free days are not as difficult as one would think, as there are many different types of vegetarian diets to choose from and nowadays restaurants are catering more and more for the vegetarian and vegan dietary requirements of their patrons. Middle-east dishes like indian curries and Asian dishes like stir-fry's would be the simplest and most tasty meals for those tempting vegetarianism for the month.

Even if you are not a vegetarian or never plan on becoming one, reducing your general intake of meat has shown to decrease the risk of many types of cancer, reduce the risk of heart disease, decrease the risk of metabolic syndrome and are associated with a lower incidence of obesity. Dr. Neil Barnard's research has shown that vegan and vegetarian diets can effectively manage and treat Type 2 Diabetes and improve plasma lipid levels.

Which type of vegetarianism you choose for this month is up to you - see our article Vegetarian, vegan, pescetarian - what is the difference? for a more detailed breakdown of the types of vegetarianism, so that you can choose which could be most easily adapted to your lifestyle.

Health benefits of vegetarian diets:

  • Vegetarian diets are low in fat, particularly saturated and trans fats
  • Contain a high proportion of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats
  • Are low in cholesterol (a vegan diet is cholesterol free)
  • Are high in dietary fibre
  • Contain large quantities of fruits, vegetables and legumes
  • Are high in antioxidants and phytochemicals.
A well planned vegetarian diet that includes a variety of plant based foods can meet nutritional needs. However, some nutrients may need special attention:
  • Protein
  • Vitamin B12 (cobalamin)
  • Iron
  • Zinc
  • Calcium
For more information on Vegetarian month visit the official website for World Vegetarian Day or read these online files for tips on meeting nutritional needs for vegetarians or sports nutrition for vegetarians.

Vegetarian Month

Experiencing Halloween in Cape Town

Every year South Africans seem to enjoy the thrill of Halloween more and more - whether it can be attributed to the fun that the children have trick or treating in their neighbourhoods, the dress-up parties for teenagers or the scary ghost tours that tickle any adults interest - young and old enjoy this eve alike and Cape Town is full of Halloween activities this year :

Two Oceans Aquarium - Sweet 16 Halloween Party

The Two Oceans Aquarium is turning 16! To celebrate, they are hosting a special Halloween-inspired Sweet 16 dance party for 16- and 17-year-olds on Saturday October 29.

Entertainment will be provided by DJ Ashton Abels, who has previously opened for the likes of Tiesto and specialises in hip-hop, deep house, dubstep, electro and funky house.

Halloween Horror film festival - Labia Theatre

The Labia Theatre in Cape Town presents the 2011 annual South African Horror Festival featuring a host of classic, rare and new horror movies. Both feature and short films from around the world will be screened, with most of them making their South African debut.

Audiences will be submersed in the horror like never before with live soundtrack performances by The Makabre Ensemble, a literary chapter, short film and short story competitions, Halloween dress-up, an alternative night market and other surprises that go bump in the night.

Halloween Mystery Ghost Bus Tour - Ferrymans Tavern

Join fellow skeptics and mystic enthusiasts on the Halloween Mystery Ghost Bus Tour on 30 & 31 October 2011. The coach departs at 19h00 SHARP from Ferryman`s Tavern, V & A Waterfront and returns just after midnight after entertaining you with the mysteries of various spots in Cape Town.

Hear local ghost stories, enter a cemetery, use dowsing rods to detect force fields, experience a surprise fun experiment, learn about the history, science and types of paranormal activity, listen to special studio recorded stories with sound effects (to add some chill), enjoy a suitable, clever scare, have the chance to see orbs, mists, vortexes, and actual ghosts.


Hot News

October is vegetarian month

World Vegetarian Awareness Month is an annual celebration to promote the joy, compassion and life-enhancing possibilities of vegetarianism, and there is no better opportunity than the present month to immerse our taste buds into the culinary delights that vegetarianism has to offer.

Read more about vegetarianism in our article below...

Featured Plant

Halleria Lucida

Halleria Lucida
(Tree Fuchsia)

Family :


Description :

Indigenous shrub to 3.5 m with arching stems and red trumpet flowers.

Flowering time :

Spring to Autumn

Conditions :

  • Sun / semi shade
  • Lots of water
  • Evergreen
  • Some wind resistance
  • Frost resistant
  • Well drained soil

View more detailed information on this plant in our plant directory.

Wine of the month

Wine of the month

Appollis Bordeaux Blend

Winery : Bosman Family Vineyards
Winemaker : Hugo Truter

Description :

Red wine blend from 59% Cabernet Sauvignon, 23% Merlot, 10% Malbec, 6% Cabernet Franc & 2% Petit Verdot from Wellington fruit.

Aroma : Black berries, black currant and gentle eucalyptus notes.

Palate : Beautiful juicy mouth feel. Follows through with elegant, persistent finish.

Winemaking : Each component was made as a distinct building block, with its specific place in the blend in mind. Matured in contact with subtle French oak. To be enjoyed now or for the next 2 to 3 years.

Food Pairing : Pair with hearty stews, lamb shank, prime cuts of grilled / barbecued meat.

If you want to purchase or require more information on this wine, or if you are interested in a private or corporate tasting, please email Karen or visit her website.

Planting Guide

Herb or Veggie
Bell Peppers

Seeds can be sown or plants can be planted for the following herbs and veggies this month:


  • Beans
  • Beetroot
  • Broccoli
  • Cabbage
  • Carrots
  • Celery
  • Cucumber
  • Eggplant
  • Lettuce
  • Mielies
  • Peppers
  • Pumpkin
  • Radish
  • Squash
  • Sweetcorn
  • Swisschard
  • Tomatoes
  • Turnips
  • Herbs

  • Basil
  • Coriander
  • Chives
  • Chamomile
  • Dill
  • Mustard
  • Oreganum
  • Parsley
  • Rocket
  • Thyme
  • Watercress
  • View our full planting plan in our resources section of our website.

    Brain Teaser

    We all love a chance to test our own brain capacity with brain teasers. Try see if you can figure out this one...

    Brain Teaser

    September's Teaser Answer :
    "Read between the lines"


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    Contact Cheral:

    Cell: 082 82 509 82